Winter rest in cycling
The end of the season arrives and it is time to take stock, to eat everything you have not been able to eat during the year, maybe to change coaches, but also to hang the bike for a few weeks and rest. In October comes the famous “cyclist stop" The transition period between two seasons that everyone should go through before facing a new course with guarantees.
Today we are going to analyze precisely this non-competitive period with the intention of clarifying all the doubts that are generated around it. Do youHow much do I have to rest? How many weeks should the break be? Am I required to rest completely or can I practice other sports?
It is curious but the quietest period of the year is the one that usually generates more uncertainty among cyclists. Each organism and each physical trainer is a different story so what comes next should only serve as an orientation guide for all those who want to start prepare a good season.
Winter break - the cyclist's break
Listen to your body
It may sound topical but I assure you that the most important thing for a cyclist is learn to listen to your own body. Knowing oneself is not easy. The experience in these cases is fundamental and over the years and seasons you will learn to interpret the signals that your body manifests directly or indirectly.
The season for all cyclists (at least those on the road) usually ends in October and although some extend it a bit taking advantage of the state of form to run an MTB race or the first cyclocross races everyone should have in October the latest planned careers of the competitive cycle.
As well. At this point it is time to take stock. To assess the results obtained but also to identify the point at which we are. This assessment is something totally personal and it's no use what your training partner says. You are the only person who really knows the level of fatigue. A fatigue that can be both physical and mental and will be responsible for marking the duration of the break.
Many cyclists finish the season physically and mentally melted. The psychological wear in endurance sports is tremendous and it would not be surprising that in the last weeks you will be counting the remaining training for the last competition of the year. The mental block is a reality throughout the year and a constant struggle that all cyclists have to face.
On the other hand there are cyclists who surprisingly end the year wanting a bicycle. It is because an injury had them apart for a few weeks, because their fatigue is not so high or simply because they are pureblood and do not know how to live without a bicycle (I would surely be included in this last group).
Regardless of whether you feel identified with the first or second group, your body needs a break but the distance and duration of it will be conditioned precisely to the physical and mood state in which you are.
The two states are important because it will be of little use to want to train if your body is molten and is screaming for a break. In the opposite direction of the equation, it will not help you to be fresh if your brain needs a reset and a brief period of disconnection. If you feel tired and continue training, all you will get is to enter a never desired overtraining. Do not forget that "to build first you have to destroy" and that your body is a living organism and not a sad robot.
Pulsations too low, inability to recover correctly from intense efforts, chronic fatigue, eating disorders, ... All this can be signs that your body uses to ask for a rest. Interpreting all this is essential to start building the foundations of the new season.
Calm and tranquility
Take it easy. The rush is not good travel companions and it is that you have at least 3 or four months ahead before facing the next competition. What is a more than prudent time to relax and enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
If you rest, stop eating your head with how much you will lose. The body is smarter than you think and it is not until practically two months when the loss becomes "irreversible." Resting means resting, so no Sunday warms with friends. You can pay for these little nonsense more expensive than you think.
If your coach marks you two three weeks of absolute rest, pay attention. Your mind is the worst enemy in all this since after three or four days of rest the “monkey” of bicycle will appear. The legs don't hurt anymore and your mood swings will start to make a dent. Although it seems you are not fully recovered and the hormonal, metabolic and muscular system need more time to still be 100%.
Can I practice other sports?
The absolute rest recommended as a general rule should not exceed 15 days of inactivity. If you have not finished very tired last season these two weeks is a good time to resume the activity and start practicing other sports. Cross training is an increasingly evident reality and the topic that “if you are a cyclist you cannot be a runner” has passed into the annals of history.
Compensatory work and gym exercises for cyclists are at the forefront of the day in winter planning and the importance of working the body of an athlete is becoming clearer. Swimming is a perfect sport to increase lung capacity and do a good aerobic job. In addition, swimming does not have any direct impact on the joints, so it is highly recommended at the health level. A gym session accompanied by long ones in the pool would be a magnificent example of training to do during the preseason.
Running despite being much more aggressive at the joint level can also be interesting and effective to gradually resume physical activity. If you are a cyclist and you have not run for a while, I recommend that you always do it for soft ground (track or mountain) and in a progressive way. If you start running 10 kilometers at 4:30 the kilometer will not only spoil all the general conditioning period but also you will annoy the muscles in two days.